How Long is Too Long to Wait for a Deal to Close, and Is It Really in Your Control?

Rene Nohari
October 6, 2023
Level 4

In the world of business, waiting for a deal to close can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether you're a salesperson, an entrepreneur, or a seasoned professional, the waiting game can test your patience and raise a crucial question: How long is too long to wait for a deal to close, and is it really in your control? In this blog, we will explore the factors that influence deal closure timelines and whether or not you can wield control over them.

Understanding the Variables
To determine how long you might have to wait for a deal to close, it's essential to understand the variables at play. Several factors can impact the timeline, including:

Complexity of the Deal: Deals can range from simple one-off transactions to complex, multi-stage negotiations involving multiple parties. Naturally, more intricate deals tend to take longer to close.

Industry Norms: Each industry has its own standard deal closure timelines. What might be considered a swift deal in one sector could be a lengthy process in another.

Buyer's Decision-Making Process: The buyer's internal procedures and decision-making hierarchy play a significant role. If their decision-making process is lengthy or involves multiple stakeholders, you might be in for a longer wait.

Economic Conditions: Economic factors, such as market volatility or economic downturns, can impact the speed at which deals close. In uncertain times, decision-makers may be more cautious and deliberate.

Competitive Landscape: If you're in a highly competitive market, the pressure to close deals quickly can be intense. Conversely, in a niche market, deals might take longer due to limited options.

Setting Realistic Expectations
It's crucial to set realistic expectations when waiting for a deal to close. While you can influence some aspects, such as your sales strategy and negotiation skills, there are elements beyond your control. Here are a few tips for managing expectations:

Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication with your client or prospect. Regular updates can help manage their expectations and build trust.

Contingency Planning: Prepare for the possibility of a deal taking longer than expected. Have backup plans and alternative revenue streams to mitigate any financial strain.

Assess Urgency: Evaluate the urgency of the deal for both parties. If it's a mission-critical project for the client, they may expedite the process.

Avoid Unrealistic Promises: Don't promise unrealistic delivery times if you cannot guarantee them. Over-promising and under-delivering can damage your reputation.

Strategies to Influence Deal Closure
While you can't control every aspect of deal closure timelines, there are strategies you can employ to expedite the process:

Qualify Leads Effectively: Invest time in qualifying leads to ensure they align with your ideal customer profile. This reduces the chances of pursuing deals that are unlikely to close.

Streamline Your Sales Process: Continuously refine and optimize your sales process to eliminate bottlenecks and reduce unnecessary delays.

Build Strong Relationships: Building trust and rapport with your clients can lead to quicker decisions. Clients are more likely to close deals with people they trust.

Leverage Technology: Utilize customer relationship management (CRM) software and other sales tools to track and manage your deals efficiently.

Negotiation Skills: Hone your negotiation skills to navigate complex deals effectively. Skilled negotiators can often expedite the decision-making process.

When to Let Go
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, deals may not close within an acceptable timeframe. It's essential to recognize when it's time to move on. Continuously pursuing a deal that shows no signs of progress can be detrimental to your overall sales efforts.
In the world of business, the length of time it takes for a deal to close can be frustratingly unpredictable. While there are factors beyond your control, there are strategies you can employ to influence the process positively. It's vital to set realistic expectations, communicate effectively, and continuously refine your approach. Remember that not every deal will close, and knowing when to let go is as important as knowing how to pursue a deal. Ultimately, success in sales often depends on finding the delicate balance between patience and persistence.

Over the last few engagements, I have had with Customers they are facing similar issues.
Clients often find themselves navigating a buying process fraught with external influences and internal complexities that limit their control over the speed and outcome of their purchasing decisions. Just as sellers must adapt and employ strategies to influence the closure of deals, clients too must contend with factors that can impact their ability to make informed, timely, and effective buying choices.
Some of these constraints are.
• Budget Constraints
• Internal Decision-Making Processes
• Market Dynamics
• Regulatory and Compliance Considerations
• Evolving Needs and Priorities
• External Factors: Clients might also be affected by external events, such as changes in the broader economic environment, political instability, or unforeseen emergencies, which can disrupt their buying plans.